Angela Lewis has made an indelible imprint in bringing to life Franklin’s Aunt Louie, in FX’s “Snowfall,” created by the late Academy Award-nominated writer and director, John Singleton. The drama series explores the crack cocaine epidemic in 1980’s Los Angeles. In the riveting series, she steps into the role as Franklin’s right hand and is a pivotal component in their family drug business. There is no one that would describe her character as simple. Aunt Louie is deeply layered, a woman who is determined to rise above the murk that surrounds her life. A woman that could be best described as discontented and at the core of that restless nature, the reason she’s made so many mistakes over and over again. In the new season, those mistakes have come home to roost.
The show is set in the summer of 1984, as crack cocaine spreads like wildfire through South Central Los Angeles. In season three, everything is changing fast. Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) out of jail and changed by that experience. His mother has now accepted his illegal operation and he decides to expand deeper into real estate. Those closest to him, his lieutenants—are expanding their perspective on the operations and how the drug game really works.
The cast includes Damson Idris, Emily Rios, Isaiah John, and Angela Lewis.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Angela credits her drive and success to the city of Detroit and the public-school education she received attending Cass Tech High School where she was active in theater and found a role model in teacher, Marilyn McCormick. She knew as early as three-years-old that a life in the arts was her destiny. She received a degree in Theater Performing at the University of Michigan, and soon after moved to New York City to pursue her acting career.
Life in the theater found her in leading roles Off-Broadway in “History of the Word” and “Milk like Sugar,” which became the winner of the 2012 Obie Award for Playwriting and 2011 San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award for Outstanding New Play. She landed her first television role on the HBO critically acclaimed drama series “The Big C” as the role of Laura Linney’s nurse. Lewis quickly began working as a voice-over and commercial talent for brands such as Verizon, AT&T Wireless, and McDonald’s, to name a few. With appearances in many popular hit TV shows, such as TNT’s “The Last Ship,” Nickelodeon’s “iCarly,” CBS’s “Code Black,” and ABC’s Emmy-award winning show “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin,” Lewis has solidified herself as an in-demand talent.
Lewis broke the news of her pregnancy via Instagram on Easter of this year. She’s married to actor J. Mallory Cree and they are expecting a little girl.
Here’s an edited phone conversation with actress Angela Lewis, who brings the fire, again, in season three of FX’s “Snowfall” as Aunt Louie.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: What can you tell us (no spoilers here) about season three of FX’s ‘Snowfall.’
ANGELA LEWIS: By episode three, we’ve already seen Louie has killed Claudia, and she’s been detained, illegally, she’s asked for her lawyer and they are not allowing her to have her lawyer. She’s on pins and needles deciding if she’s going to confess or what’s going to happen. Then we watch Andre make a huge mistake, but subtle that Louie catches on to. She’s sort of redeemed at the moment and leaves [jail]. We watch her move through the next moments of her life dealing with the fact that she’s killed Claudia, a huge figure in her life. She and Claudia have had a very abusive relationship for a long time. Not only is this her first kill, but she’s also dealing with the changing danger with the law on her heels. We are watching her navigate that world.
LAS: I can’t believe she’s murdered, Claudia. I mean they go way back. Push into this, if you can?
AL: Yes, you are right. They had a complicated relationship. Claudia was very abusive with Louie her entire life and Louie was in love with her. She also wanted to prove herself to Claudia. She wanted to prove that she was a different person than when they first met.
Louie was very vulnerable around Claudia in a way that she wasn’t with others. I think when faced with basically an ultimatum that it’s her life or being subjected to more abuse — spiritual, emotional and physical — it was a life or death decision. I don’t think it was a very easy decision but it was a very visceral decision.
LAS: What have you learned about drugs in America from this show?
AL: I learned two things. One, the epidemic hit all the major cities in our country at different times, but pretty soon it [was] like that domino effect and, so because of that, we all have a very similar experience. What is happening in our show happened in Detroit. It happened in Chicago. It was just a reminder that we’re all the same.
LAS: It’s easy to judge because it’s 2019, but no one saw crack coming hard — like that!
AL: That’s the other thing that I learned and that does not judge each other too quickly. It’s important to see the human being and what happens with a drug that devastates that human being. And this dire situation has caused Louie to behave in the way that she does.
LAS: I interviewed novelist and television writer Walter Mosley about the impact that John Singleton has had in many people lives. He said that hundreds of people owe their careers to him. Can you share a story about John, as well?
AL: Walter [Mosely] is right. John certainly gave me my opportunity. I’m one of the people whom he’s helped. He was amazing and his craft and the legacy that he left is undeniable. He was just John and that’s one of the things that I loved about him.
LAS: Now, in season three, do the writers talk about where the characters are going emotionally?
AL: Yes and no. They talk to us about the general paths that they see for our characters. We get the script one episode at a time and that’s because, as an actor, we are not playing the end of things or playing the outcomes, so we can stay in the moment with each episode. Things are not revealed until the table read at the beginning of the episodes. We do get a chance to discuss nuance with the creators and the directors but that’s usually close to the day.
LAS: In your bio, he said that you are a vegan? That’s interesting. Why did you make this decision, if I may ask?
AL: You’re right. It’s much easier in L.A. I became vegan three years ago. I wanted to have a baby, but I didn’t know when I wanted to have the baby. I read a book about getting ready to get pregnant and the book was eye-opening how women are not aware that so much happens when you do get pregnant, that so much happens in that first couple of weeks—even before your pregnant. [After you find out] Then you start your prenatal routine then you want to change your life, and change your diet but you’ve missed an opportunity at the foundation of the embryo development. You’ve missed that, you’re done. So, I knew that I wanted to do this, right, I’m a grown, married woman. I know how babies happen so maybe I should treat my body in a way that my body performs optimally in a way that’s good for me and my baby when the baby comes.
LAS: That’s excellent information. Thank you for sharing that. What are your favorite vegan spots in L.A.?
AL: My husband joined me in being a vegan. Our three favorite spots are Stuff I Eat, I love Cross Roads Kitchen for their brunch and I just found this place, SeaBirds and Sage [Vegan Bistro] is good.
LAS: So, what’s next?
AL: Having my baby. She’s due in September.